NAWL’s purpose is clear: empowering women in the legal profession. For over 100 years, the NAWL leaders who have come before me have worked tirelessly toward the mission of providing leadership, a collective voice, and essential resources to advance women in the legal profession and advocate for the equality of women under the law.
NAWL works in a number of ways to achieve its mission. One of those ways is by having an inclusive culture. An inclusive organization is one that offers ways in which its members can find commonality. During a time when so many are all too quick to point out what divides us, it is important for NAWL to provide a place for us to unite. As different as we all are, we can find our commonality. When we find that common thread, we have a connection. It is this commonality and connection that will unite our efforts to drive actions and change. Because this is your organization, it is important for you to be connected. My sincere hope is that in the coming year you feel more connected to NAWL and more connected to your fellow members. Only through your involvement and work will we further NAWL’s mission.
We all have demands on our resources, not the least of which, our time. There are endless places we could be expending those resources, or even keeping them to ourselves. But none of us can sit back and wait for others to do the work. In the words of Rev. Henry Melvill, “[you] cannot live for yourselves; a thousand fibres connect you with your fellow-[wo]men, and along those fibres, as along sympathetic threads, run your actions as causes, and return to you as effects.”
We have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to gain. We cannot do it without you. We want your actions, your energy, your ideas, and your shared desire to advance women in the law. The actions you take may include encouraging colleagues and friends to join NAWL so, like you, they can connect with other NAWL members. You may decide to become active in a committee or one of our growing affinity groups. Getting your organization to become an institutional member or sustaining sponsor is a terrific way to connect with NAWL to further its mission. Join us in Boston this fall for Meeting the Challenge, Miami in the winter, and Dallas in the spring for even more excellent programming. Our General Counsel Institute is always a great experience. Whatever your background or current work, there is space for you and a place for you to connect.
Through NAWL, I have had the tremendous fortune of working and connecting with so many inspiring and talented women. Leslie Richards-Yellen is no exception. Over the past year Leslie has led this organization with drive and a clear vision. Her lasting legacy will be of a more diverse and inclusive organization. To her, I extend my gratitude for all she has done for NAWL. I am humbled and honored to lead your organization for the next year. I am excited to see how the actions we take together will return as positive effects that continue to empower women in the legal profession.
Angela Beranek Brandt
NAWL Board President 2017-2018